Former Attorney General Bill Barr has been speaking with the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol, confirmed Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) Sunday to Margaret Brennon on “Face the Nation.”
Thompson was asked about recent reports concerning a draft executive order from the Trump White House that would have directed the Defense Department to seize voting machines in battleground states in the weeks following the contested 2020 election and whether or not the committee would speak with Bill Barr about the matter.
The draft was among 700 documents former President Trump had fought to keep from the Jan. 6 committee, but the Supreme Court ultimately ruled against him, allowing the National Archives to release the documents in question.
Included was the draft executive order, which contained instructions to appoint a special counsel “to institute all criminal and civil proceedings as appropriate based on the evidence collected. Furthermore, the draft called on the Secretary of Defense to release a “final assessment” within 60 days — a deadline that would have fallen after Jan. 20, 2021, when Trump’s term was scheduled to end.
Not surprisingly, many political commentators have denounced the documents, calling it a “very clear violation” of federal law and the Constitution. Though Trump never signed the EO, which likely never made it out of draft form, his opponents have held it up as evidence of a conspiratorial mindset in the final days of his presidency.
“To be honest with you, we’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already,” Thompson revealed. “We have talked to Department of Defense individuals. We are concerned that our military was part of this Big Lie on promoting that the election was false. So, if you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know. We’ve never had that before.”
Thompson vowed that if the committee can “document” evidence that “any of these individuals who [were] participating in trying to stop the election… we will share it with the public.”
That currently remains a big “if.”
“We have information that between the Department of Justice, a plan was put forward to potentially seize voting machines in the country and utilize Department of Defense assets to make that happen,” Thompson stated.
But by Thompson’s own admission, the committee does not possess proof of any operational plan within the military to actually seize any voting machines.
“Well, no, not an operational plan,” Thompson conceded, but insisted that the mere existence of the draft executive order “is reason enough to believe that it was being proposed.”
“Our job is to get to the facts and circumstances of how far did they go,” Thompson continued. “We do know that a potential person was identified to become the Attorney General of the United States, who would communicate with certain states that election on their situation had been fraudulent and not to produce certified documents. Well, we understand that. So, we will move forward on that investigation, and we will look and see specifically how far that plan went.”
When asked if Barr would testify or if other members of the military would be called to clarify, Thompson said, “Well, part of our plan is to continue to engage all those individuals that we deem necessary and important to our investigation. Some [we] will talk to, some we will do in a deposition under oath. Others, we will offer hearing opportunities. But I can assure you, as we develop this information, we will clearly present it to the public. We plan at this point to have a series of public hearings showing the use of federal assets, Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and other agencies to actually stop the duly election of a president. So, we’ll do it in due time.”
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